At their ages, Alexander and Dara's only worries should be eating dinner, but in the "MasterChef Junior" finale on Fox Friday at 8 p.m., EST, they are battling to create their very best three-course meals.
"MasterChef Junior" has become one of Fox's sleeper hits, rating better in early October in the coveted adults 18-49 category (1.4 rating) than Friday shows like "Last Man Standing" (1.2), "Dateline" (1.0), "The Neighbors" (0.9) and "America's Next Top Model" (0.4), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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The show, a spinoff from the cooking show "MasterChef," pits kids ages 8 to 13 against each other to make Beef Wellington, layer cakes and soft-boiled eggs for the same judges as their adult counterparts.
The winner, which is now down to Alexander and Dara, will receive $100,000 and a trophy that the Huffington Post reported
excited the young competitors more than the money.
"But after watching all six aired episodes in one fell swoop -- the finale . . . we were left with so many questions about how the show actually works: How do you throw a 9-year-old into the kitchen with hothead Gordon Ramsay? Did that kid from East Rockaway actually make a perfect roulade ... and then get eliminated? What about knife cuts and boiling water burns?" wrote Huffington Post's Jessica Goodman.
In a clip posted on TVGuide.com, MasterChef
champion Luca Manfe said he was impressed with the maturity of the kids.
"They feel nervous," Manfe said. "They feel excited. They feel scared. I don't know how the kids can handle this situation being so young because I could barely handle myself."
Robin Ashbrook, the executive producer of "MasterChef" and "Master Chef Junior," told the Huffington Post there were some unique challenges in working with the kids.
"The season took almost three weeks to film," Ashbrook said. "Right by the kitchen we have classrooms so they fulfilled all their mandatory classes. For us, production-wise, it was a challenge because we usually film on the grown 'MasterChef' a 12-hour day. With these guys, depending on which day of the week, and their age, the limit is just four hours a day. When those four hours are up, those four hours are up. We literally had to stop filming."
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